Post by Steven Dale
Nick Smith of Vancouver offers an interesting take on Vancouver’s planned Evergreen Skytrain Line and it’s impact on the shelved Burnaby Mountain Gondola plan.
His basic thesis is that the Evergreen Line will cause an increased need for the gondola and dramatically increase the benefit-cost-ratio of the system. As Nick says: “What this all amounts to is a higher Benefit Cost Ratio for the gondola project if the Evergreen Line is built. Which means that it actually makes more sense to build the Burnaby Mountain gondola upon completion of the Evergreen Line.”
As we pointed out earlier (here), the current Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) shows the gondola costing a scant $12m more than the business as usual situation. $12m in terms of long term public infrastructure building is basically within the margin of error and subject to so much subjectivity, it basically renders the point moot. But as the case for the gondola was so borderline negative, any positive impact on its BCR would tilt it into a recommendable project.
Most importantly, I think, is the fact that Nick’s discussion highlights how interwoven transit projects are. They don’t exist in isolation, and they should be analyzed as such. Too often people positioned the gondola as something that was sucking away funds from the Evergreen Line. That wasn’t the case, obviously, but it didn’t prevent people from believing so. (See the comments debate here for just such a situation.)
Now we have a not unreasonable argument that suggests the opposite.
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